“Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”
This was David’s cry in Psalm 12:1 (NKJV). Sometimes I feel like David when I hear of a new affront to marriage and morality, which lately has been almost daily. To quote another verse from David in the preceding Psalm,
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalm 11:3 (NKJV)
Today, marriage is under attack on at least five fronts. It is nearly impossible to properly discuss marriage without also addressing the family. This article will focus on the attacks against marriage and the family with regard to their definition, institution, purpose, sanctity and perpetuation.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments with regard to same-sex marriage. The Court must decide whether they are going to redefine marriage for the United States of America or leave the decision up to the States.
The Court is expected to announce its ruling on same-sex marriage sometime this June. The Supreme Court’s decision may have implications for congregations across the United States. While we hope and pray the Court will use wisdom in making its decision and rule in favor of biblical marriage, we know that God ultimately is in control, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, and He is the Supreme Lawgiver and the original Definer of marriage.
The institution of marriage began when God created a helpmate for Adam. In doing so, He created a woman for Adam, not another man. God knew that man needed a helper to complete him – not one who would be in competition with him, but one who would fill a complementing role in the God-ordained family structure. See Genesis 2:18-24. Jesus reiterated this passage in Mark 10:2-12.
Today, the liberal society wants to restructure the institution of marriage. They want marriage to include a man with a man or a woman with a woman. Just the other day, I read a letter in “Dear Abby” from a woman who wanted to leave her common-law husband and marry his sister. This kind of letter would never have been printed in “Dear Abby” twenty years ago. This is just one example of how the homosexual agenda has crept into everyday society. We have already seen in our own state of Virginia how the marriage licenses have been neutered. They no longer have a space for the “bride” and “groom.” Now they just say “spouse” where they used to say “bride” or “groom.” This is heartbreaking.
After the fall of Adam and his helpmate, their purpose shifted from being caretakers of the Garden of Eden to procreation. Even at this time, God had His plan in place to redeem mankind. Adam named his wife “Eve” in Genesis 3:20. Now, in addition to being Adam’s helpmate, Eve became “the mother of all living.” When Eve gave birth to Cain, the family as a unit was initiated. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word “family” is defined this way: “A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” Biologically, we understand the true definition of parents requires that one be a male and the other a female. No human children can be born naturally from a union between two males or two females. However, we are seeing television commercials these days that attempt to portray unnatural family units. This is disgusting.
In Titus 2:3-5, we see a New Testament example of a woman’s role in the family structure. Older women are to train the younger women to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (NASB). I often pray with the ladies I disciple that each of their husbands would be the spiritual leader of his home that God intended. Ladies, if your family is struggling in this area, it could mean that you have to take a step back so your husband can take a step forward in the home. I have encouraged several women to read I Peter 3:1-2 when there is a lack of biblical spiritual leadership in the home.
Husbands are admonished to love their wives in Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19. Fathers are commanded not to “provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NASB). Deuteronomy 6:7 instructed the Israelites to teach God’s commandments “diligently to your sons and…talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (NASU). The main reason that some children do not have proper respect for authority is because they haven’t seen a godly fatherly example modeled before them on a daily basis. Young boys eventually will become fathers and if they haven’t been taught God’s commands growing up, there is little chance they will pass them on to their own children.
Unfaithfulness has, in my opinion, done more to undermine the sanctity of marriage and the family than homosexuality has. How many families have been split up in our country and even in our own churches as a result of infidelity? Yes, we should protect the sanctity of marriage and hate everything that God hates. But what is one of the things that God hates in addition to homosexuality? Divorce. Malachi 2:16 says:
“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” – Malachi 2:16 (NASU)
Another passage that deals with divorce is Mark 10:2-12:
And the Pharisees came to him [Jesus], and asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, “What did Moses command you?” And they said, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.” And Jesus answered and said unto them, “For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (KJV)
Sometimes those who claim to be Christians are just as quick to enter the divorce court as non-Christians are. As part of the body of Christ, we should emphasize the sanctity of marriage and protect it. Divorce should not be taken lightly nor should it be mentioned by couples even jokingly or during an argument. To minimize the chances for divorce, Christian couples should spend as much time together as possible, find as many things in common as possible and sometimes even do things together that one spouse does not particularly enjoy just to please the other spouse, provided, of course, that the things they are doing don’t contradict Scripture. Fellowship with other Christian couples is essential.
Going back to the second Scripture reference cited in this article, I was privileged to hear Rafael Cruz speak on Friday night, May 15, 2015. Cruz quoted Psalm 11:3 in his speech. It was convicting to hear a man who had fled persecution and torture in his own country, speak with such passion and love for his adopted country. Cruz left Cuba in 1957 and found freedom in the U.S., where he has since become an advocate for restoring biblical family values. Cruz asked the question, “Are we justifying the wicked by remaining silent?”
Some people believe Christians should not get involved in politics. In fact, many who identify themselves as Christians do not seem to think voting is important as evidenced by the outcome of recent elections. However, this issue of same-sex marriage is really not political – it is moral and spiritual. The reason we are at this point in history is because Christians have remained silent for too long. Sexual immorality is no longer preached against and looked down upon the way it used to be. Couples are not ashamed to live together without being married. Could it be possible that someday homosexuality will become just as common in America– just as tolerated and accepted? By asking this question, I am justifying neither sin. This is just the progression when sin becomes gradually accepted over time.
What can we do as Christians to preserve the foundation of marriage and the family for generations to come, should God give us that much time? Well, for starters, we can endeavor to make our own marriages and families as Christ-centered as they can be.
Prayer is something every concerned Christian can do. This month, I challenge you to pray specifically for each member of the Supreme Court:
Chief Justice of the United States: John G. Roberts, Jr.
Anthony M. Kennedy
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen G. Breyer
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.
We have a few judges left on the bench who still have a regard for God and morality. Perhaps if we pray earnestly for the Supreme Court, God will give our churches and nation time to repent and make amends for our past inactivity and apathy.
Preachers need to be addressing sexual immorality from the pulpit in such a way that it makes the guilty members so uncomfortable that they either repent or leave the church. If this seems harsh to you, consider the alternative if they don’t repent. In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, Paul chastised the Corinthian congregation for allowing a man who was having immoral relations with his stepmother to remain in the body:
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (NASU)
Later, in 2 Corinthians chapter 2, Paul indicates that the church member who had been guilty of sexual immorality repented and Paul encourages the congregation to forgive him and accept him back into the assembly. The goal in preaching against sin should always be repentance and restoration.
If you hear of someone taking a stand for righteousness in the public sector or in your community, encourage them. Perhaps your children have a Christian teacher in the public schools. Thank them for standing for truth. If your children are blessed to attend Christian school, thank the school and the teachers. If you are home-schooling your children, look for more opportunities to incorporate Christian principles into your curriculum.
Finally, we need to be encouraged that even when it seems like evil is winning on all sides, God has given us the power to be winners through His Son, Jesus Christ:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NASU
We need to encourage each other daily in the faith:
The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. – Galatians 6:6-10 (NASU)
If we walk in the Spirit, God will give us the wisdom to deal with the situations we face. I encourage you to stay in the Word and pray for the members of your congregation. We also need to lift our spiritual leaders up in prayer on a regular basis.
Let us define marriage according to God’s Word, not according to the world’s definition. “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Let us recognize that our purpose is a higher calling than the purpose the world wants to give us. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15, NASU). Let us be on guard against every attack aimed at our own marriages and families. Let us make sure our foundation is God’s Word.